Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wind can power Texas education funding

As many readers of this blog know, the University of Texas has one of the largest endowments in the world.  A big part of this funding comes from royalties on oil and gas production paid to the state.  A person with a long term view may look at this situation and ask, "What happens when the oil runs out?".  One answer could be wind farms.  The State Energy Conservation Office of Texas (SECO) states that wind farms on state land are obligated to pay land use fees and a portion of profits to the state, of which part is constitutionally allocated to the Permanent School Fund.
SECO says that, "From only one wind farm located on state land in West Texas (Texas Wind Power Project), the Permanent School Fund has earned more than $750,000 since installation in 1995. The project is expected to earn more than $3 million for state schools and create $300 million in increased economic activity over the 25-year lease period. "
The University of Texas at Austin has long understood it's connection with the oil business and developed a top notch petroleum engineering department and other related fields of study to help promote it's own economic well being.  Perhaps it is time that the school focus more on wind related fields of study to help it's future finances.  These could be mechanical engineering, re-starting the petroleum land management program (much of the work involved in setting up wind farms is similar to oil and gas land work), and classes in GIS software.

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